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Chadwick Boseman's Most Inspiring Quotes

The loss of Chadwick Boseman at such a young age, right in the prime of his career, is still hard to fathom. To countless children and adults, he will always be remembered as the Black Panther, king of Wakanda, and the most powerful leader in the Marvel Universe. To others, he is the man who was capable of playing three real-life icons — Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall — and bringing his own unique touch to each of them. 

Though Boseman's acting talents were exceptional, he was also someone who possessed a truly poetic way with words. This was only fitting, given that writing was also one of his passions, and throughout Boseman's far-too-short time in the spotlight, his keen insight into the world was remarkable. While he was often inspirational, there were a number of key moments that truly signified the courage, strength, and wisdom that would be his legacy.

There are no villains in Black Panther for Chadwick Boseman

While Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa is the star of Black Panther, the film's plot revolves around Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, a young boy stranded by the country of his birth, who grows to become a violent man that can overthrow it. While Killmonger's aggression leads down a dark path, his pain comes from a very understandable place, and his central motivation — that Wakanda's isolation renders the nation complicit in the oppression that Black people have faced for centuries – is finally validated by T'Challa himself, in the end, when he opens Wakanda up to the world.

In an interview with Trevor Noah, Boseman touched on this, saying "I don't think there's a villain in this movie." However, he also delved into the importance of owning your own narrative: "Everybody is the hero in their own story, you know? Like, you should be the hero in your own story [...] you should see yourself conquering, you know, the dramatic action of whatever you're trying to do. So when you get to crisis, you know how to deal with it. You should be able to do that. And there are people that come in and help you with your story, but you have to be the person who deals with the conflicts that are in place."

Chadwick Boseman speaks on equality and privilege

In 2019, the cast of Black Panther received a SAG award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, according to Pop Sugar. Accepting the award, Boseman referred to the song "To be Young, Gifted & Black" by Nina Simone. 

Later, when asked if he could explain this further, he did so: "It speaks to the fact that you have the same dreams as other people, you have equal if not more talent at times, but you don't have the same opportunities. You don't have the same doors opened to you, the same nepotism, the same money or resources that can be put towards your dreams. And you a lot of times don't have family members that have ever achieved the things that you want to do. When you aspire to do something that is outside of something the world would see you doing — 'To Be Young, Gifted & Black' is all of that. It's to have everything, but then not quite be able to grasp it. And to be able to persevere through that." 

Chadwick Boseman on cherishing the moment

Following Boseman's death, fellow actor Josh Gad shared the last text he received from Boseman, following several days of rain, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the full text is worth reading, even this snippet, by itself, is both relatable and profound: 

"Great. We're stuck inside these damn quarantines because of the COVID, and now we can't even get no sun in Cali. Come on now! But now that the rain has stopped and today's storm has cleared, I urge you to go outside and take a DEEP breath. Notice how fresh the air is right now, after our skies have had a 3 week break from the usual relentless barrage of fumes from bumper to bumper LA commuters, and now today's rain has given the City of Angels a long overdo and much-needed shower. Inhale and exhale this moment. Thank God for the unique beauties and wonders of the day. We should take advantage of every moment we can to enjoy the simplicity of God's creation, whether it be clear skies and sun or clouded over with gloom. And hey, if the air is this clear right now, and it does rain tomorrow, I might even put jars and bins out and catch the rain. Throw that in the water filter and I have a water more alkaline than any bottled brand out there."

Death, legacy, and why Black Panther mattered so much

Chadwick Boseman never told the world about the health struggles he must have faced on a daily basis. Through it all, however, he also never stopped fighting. And when it came to portraying T'Challa, the world's foremost Black superhero, he fully realized the importance of representation and setting an example for the next generation. While promoting the film during an interview with Sirius XM, he spoke of how, throughout Black Panther's production, he had stayed in contact with two young fans, both suffering from terminal cancer, who had told him that they were fighting to hold onto life until the movie could come out. Never revealing his own diagnosis to the cameras, he said, "It's a humbling experience, because you're like, [Black Panther] can't mean that much to them, but seeing how the world has taken this on, seeing how the movement — how it's taken on a life of its own, I realized how they anticipated something great. And I think back now, to [being] a kid, and just, you know, waiting for Christmas to come, waiting for my birthday to come, waiting for a toy that I was going to get a chance to experience, or a video game ... I did live life, waiting for those moments, and so it put me back to the mind of being a kid, just to experience those two little boys' anticipation of this movie, and when I found out that they ..."

At this point, Boseman stopped, clearly recollecting the news of the children's deaths. Tears ran down his cheeks. After a moment of support from his castmates, he finally said, "Yeah. It means a lot."